Impaired Driving is one of America's deadliest crimes. Nationally, 11,773 people die in alcohol impaired driving crashes during 2008. Hundreds of thousands more are injured each year.
That's why Bonita Montgomery, D.W.I. instructor and coordinator of Health Resources of Arkansas is joining with other national, state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials to remind everyone this holiday season to always designate a sober driver before each holiday party or event involving alcohol.
"The holiday season is supposed to be a time for family, friend and festive celebrations, but it is unfortunately also a time when we see a tragic jump in the number of alcohol-related highway fatalities each year between Thanksgiving and New year's " said Bonita.
"That's why we are out early reminding everyone this holiday season, if you catch a buzz, catch a ride."
"Designating a sober driver before the party begins is just one of several, simple steps to remember to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving," she said, while offering these simple reminders for a safer holiday season:
* Don't even think about getting behind the wheel of our vehicle if you've been out drinking:
* If you are impaired, call a taxi -- use mass transit -- or get a sober friend or family member to come get you;
* Or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober;
* And remember -- Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Take the keys and never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
Montgomery also said, "If you are hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead, always offer alcohol-free beverages during the event, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver."
Since 1981, every President of the United States has proclaimed December "National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month" to help underscore the public's commitment to preventing impaired driving and promoting the use of designated drivers and sober ride programs. The month of December and the New Year's Eve holiday are often highlighted by significant increases in state and local law enforcement efforts to combat impaired driving such as the use of sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.
"Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is simply not worth the risk," she said. "The consequences are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant and not the way you want to spend your holiday season."